「四人の絆」 (Yonin no Kizuna)
“The Bonds of the Four”
Seems as if this series is following up each major arc with two filler episodes, and contrary to the title, the first one of the pair actually wasn’t really about bonding at all. Instead, the majority of it was dedicated to everyone’s rest and relaxation, although I’m not sure if the spring cleaning of the Odette II and Bentenmaru really counts as either one. Yet this episode actually wasn’t as dull and mundane as the premise sounds. Much to my surprise, I still found the story rather entertaining, if not particularly good, and a lot of it was thanks to Marika bringing the same enthusiasm to cleaning that she does to pirating.
I am probably somewhat biased, but I really think it’s a testament to how likeable of a character Marika is in that she’s able to carry an otherwise humdrum episode on the strength of her personality alone. Some people might not like her Genki Girl archetype, but I believe one of its strengths is in making slower episodes like this one more enjoyable. This is especially true when the girl is a mellower version of the archetype, and/or when she’s drowsy. In Marika’s case, although it seems as if every minute is spent battling sleep deprivation, an enthusiastic girl like her doesn’t know the meaning of the words rest and relaxation. The poor girl looks like she could pass out any second, but instead of taking a nap she uses her downtime to clean both ships. I respect and admire this aspect of hers as I think leaders who are willing to do the dirty work themselves are better able to understand the people whom they lead, but she also needs to learn the value of proper rest since it will cut down on avoidable mistakes like forgetting to lock the door and losing her ID ring. In any case, without all of Marika’s cute facial expressions and just plain endearing personality, I don’t know if I would have really cared much for this episode, especially with the unfortunate lack of any Chiaki moments. Every episode could use more Chiaki, right?
One person who in the beginning didn’t seem all that fond of Marika was the younger Serenity princess, Grunhilde. At first, I thought she resented Gruier for having such a close friendship with Marika and then ignoring her sister as a result, but as the episode went on I began to have the feeling Grunhilde was actually was jealous of the bond between princess and pirate. Who can blame her though? There’s this awesome girl whom you like, but another person is monopolizing the relationship (and ‘flirting’ like crazy too). When Marika’s ID ring fell into the outstretched hand of an unknown person, I immediately knew it would be Grunhilde’s hand, but for some reason I didn’t think she would do something nice with it. I expected her to use it somehow in a devious way – what exactly, I didn’t know. Fortunately, the princess had principles, and her good deeds were rewarded in a way by finding out that she too, shared a bond with Marika and Gonzaemon. My only question is why Grunhilde just didn’t ask her sister what the ring was instead of going to Lynn.
The real bright spot in this episode for me was when the two Bentenmaru crews, the Yacht Club girls and the original crew, finally met one another, although I wish that the girls and their adult counterparts could have interacted more. The girls (who by the way brought so much stuff during their brief stay) all seemed like they really want to be pirates/sailors, taking their positions on the bridge instead of merely undoing the master lock, so it seemed like a ripe opportunity for the adults to show the girls a thing or two, and vice versa. I just hope it’s not the last we see of the two groups together on the ship.
- So that’s why the fighter is called Silent Whisper – it’s able to hear everything, even silent whispers!
- Aside from the ‘Black Holy’ ED, Marika finally shows off her singing voice in the show itself, and I want more!
- Full-length images: 03, 05, 13, 19, 20, 23, 27.